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T.A. Cook creates a standardized maintenance structure for an oil corporation

A well-known international refining business asked T.A. Cook to implement a standardized Global Manufacturing Template (GMT) across its worldwide fleet. The goal was to design and implement an comprehensive maintenance template to simplify auditing and compliance. The team at T.A. Cook took the technical data from the locations and entered it into a centralized SAP system. The piping and instrumentation diagram blueprints from all of the operational areas were ordered according to function, process and spatial criteria. Using this technical location data, maintenance engineers can now plan maintenance and service operations, exchange equipment or structural components, compare refineries and even identify costly asset issues or technical bottlenecks. The comprehensive technical overview enables a coherent strategic approach to maintenance, procurement and replacement parts.


Text: Roland Hensel


Learning from Hatomoto

What sounded like a simple task, was a lot more complicated to implement. Refineries have developed organically and are subject to dramatically different regional and national standards, regulations and conditions. T.A. Cook was challenged with integrating 600,000 organizational units across 13 operational areas in two refineries into a single standardized, and globally accessible SAP system. Facing a seemingly insurmountable task, the project manager turned to his karate experience for solutions. ‘A project’ that means: There is a beginning, there will be an end, and everyone should be satisfied with the results. As every good project manager knows, the combination of knowledge and experience is key. The old Japanese masters knew only too well that successful projects require meticulous preparation. The preparation acts as the foundation upon which experience can build.

Convince the people 

The first challenge was to convince all the stakeholders of the benefits of structural alignment. After all, this alignment required the introduction of a single set of company-wide rules and a common language. It was essential that the stakeholders accepted and understood how this would benefit their day-to-day work. The Kata philosophy from Japan is an excellent way to nurture such awareness: "Never forget, that karate begins and ends with respect. Spirit first, technique second. Calamity springs from carelessness. "We were very lucky that as part of our project strategy we received all the P&ID plans. This meant that as well as optimizing the technical location alignment, we could also compare the local operational systems", explains Tobias Demel, the T.A. Cook project manager. "By sifting through the documentation, we were able to warn the plants about irregularities. Simplifying processes and showing the potential of the new system made it easier to convince our colleagues of the benefits. It's always easier to get things done if you’ve the right people sitting around the table." The managers in charge of the various departments became the glue for the business and were able to stimulate further improvement.

"We were very lucky that as part of our project strategy we received all the P&ID plans. This meant that as well as optimizing the technical location alignment, we could also compare the local operational systems."

Tobias Demel, Project Manager Engineers at T.A. Cook


Trust what you have learned

A team of 11 experts from T.A. Cook, including consultants, engineers and IT specialists, gathered all the data drew up a set of rules. They relied on experience from previous projects to guide them. For their part, the consultants drew conceptual inspiration from their collective experience and the IT specialists channeled their specialist knowledge into efficiently processing the data. T.A. Cook employed its extensive expertise and experience to develop tools that could automatically gether data from P&ID plans and other data banks to be fed into a single SAP data resource. The tools were adapted to perform specific tasks at each location and were able to automatically gather and assign new attributes to 80% of the data. The process moved quickly, which helped to secure the quality and consistency of the data. To collect the remaining 20%, the tools were reprogrammed, retested and adapted to the new conditions. As a controlled implementation, this was a relatively uncomplicated process.

The journey is the destination

To help onboard colleagues and departments, workshops were hosted from the outset. T.A Cook's specialists created a set of rules and a handbook as the basis for the refineries' structural standardization. The handbook will later act as a reference and training manual for new employees. Just as karate masters constantly strive to enhance their skills, so too will maintenance planning improve. As we like to say, "The journey is the destination".






Tobias Demel

Tobias Demel has been a project manager at T.A. Cook Engineers since 2017. He is responsible for engineering and process implementation in SAP and the development and implementation of classifications in SAP. As project manager and senior planning specialist he was previously involved and led various projects in the petrochemical, chemical and automotive industries.